Italian fixed-wireless access (FWA) ISP Linkem has switched on the country’s first commercial 5G Standalone (SA) network using 3.5GHz spectrum. The operator had previously launched 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) in December utilising the 26GHz band. Around half of the Linkem 3.5GHz network, which covers approximately 70% of Italy’s territory, is ready to support 5G SA.
Davide Rota, CEO of Linkem, commented: ‘The use of Standalone technology enables for the first time in Italy the exclusive use of the 5G radio spectrum on a fixed-wireless connection. We are convinced that wireless, 5G, mobile and FWA technologies will play a fundamental role in national and European strategies to bridge the digital divide and accelerate the deployment of very high-capacity networks and innovative services from a Smart City perspective.’
In December 2019 Linkem signed a long-term network sharing deal with fellow ISP Fastweb to share the use of 5G FWA equipment to accelerate their respective rollouts in rural areas of the country. Together, the firms aim to reach around twelve million premises in 2,000 communities with their 5G rollouts.